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The Upbringing of Harry Potter and Lyra

Dumbledore was correct in leaving Harry at the Dursleys despite the warning of Professor McGonagall. The book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone” opens with the murder of Harry’s parents being killed by Lord Voldemort, thus imposing the idea that Harry will be under threat till Lord Voldemort survives (Rowling). It was believed that Voldemort was dead but it was later discovered that Voldemort was still alive and Hogwarts was not a safe place for Harry. Dumbledore had to act quickly in order to save the little boy and that is when he is reminded of the blood connection. Dursley shared a blood relation with Harry and till the point eh was with the Dursley family, Harry could live. This is mainly why Harry was left at the family’s doorstep very early on in his life. Professor McGonagall had opposed the idea because she knew that the little boy would have to face many hardships for several years based on the way the family functioned but with the act of Dumbledore, Harry could stay alive and away from the fear of Lord Voldemort who would make attempts to kill him otherwise.

The experiences of Harry Potter at Hogwarts make him one of the most accessible characters in the entire story. On receiving the knowledge that he is going to be a wizard; the awestruck expression of Potter is very much relatable to the child readers and the reason for the same is that every child would certainly be awe struck on realizing that he or she could possibly be a wizard. However, besides this aspect the feeling that Potter experiences on meeting new people and making new friends like Hermoine and Ron is relatable to the child readers who also feel a sense of attachment to their new friends. The way in which Potter feels excited on reaching Hogwarts and watching his new school before him. The curiosity of exploring the entire campus and meeting the professors is relatable to the child readers who in their personal lives also feel a sense of curiosity on entering a new class and meeting the teachers who would essentially guide them throughout the year. The way in which Harry is scared and excited to face new challenges makes him accessible to the readers in general.

The prophecy that was told by the Centaurs was a declaration of what the future holds and this makes them come to the decision that they would not mess with what is being protected at Hogwarts as doing so would mean changing the future for everybody. This approach makes complete sense and the reason for the same was that Centaurs had subtly warned Harry about how a negative power wanted to acquire what was protected behind the walls of Hogwarts (Rowling). This was understood by them and the understanding that a number of powerful people were trying to protect what was placed in Hogwarts, makes it clear that this matter was not just serious but at the same time it can be life threatening. Therefore, the decision to stay away from the larger events and especially when it is already understandable that the outcome of changing the already existing order can lead to chaos which could be difficult to contain. In addition, given the age of the children, they were expected to stay away from the secrets of Hogwarts anyway.

Experiences and Challenges of Harry Potter and Lyra

It is true that Harry and his friends are exempted from punishments at Hogwarts in some cases and not only that despite having broken the rule they are rewarded rather than punished. If viewed from the ethical perspective, it is not fair because rules are supposed to be maintained and rewarding one person for breaking the rules can act as an encouragement for the other to do the same but when viewed from The Perspective Of Development, the entire act of rewarding them only helps them in achieving success in tough situation. An example of breaking the rules is seen when Potter along with Hermoine and Ron go on to tell Professor McGonagall that Professor Snape has the intention of capturing the Philosopher’s stone and she asks them to stay away from the matter (Rowling). Potter and his friends do not obey the orders given to them and in order to quench their curiosity they get involved with the entire event. This act might seem ethically wrong but if Potter was not given this freedom, he would not become a brave and strong person later.

The novel by J.K Rowling titled “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” reflects on the childhood of Harry Potter who is placed in the custody of his foster parents that is the Dursley’s (Rowling). Petunia Dursley happens to be Harry’s aunt and she is responsible for taking care of Potter. On the other hand, Lyra in the novel “The Golden Compass” is also shown to be an orphan (Pullman). In this novel, the writer Phillips Pullman gives Lyra a childhood that can be described as being full of innocence and independence. Lyria is also an orphan and she is taken care of by her uncle Lord Asriel. This paper will compare the childhood of both Lyra and Harry to depict how Lyra enjoys a better childhood than Harry.

Lyra is introduced as an eleven-year-old who grows up in the care of two scholars in Oxford. She is a child with no female figure looking over her or teaching her about the societal orders of any kind. Having being surrounded by a number of literate men, she is never forbidden from doing anything which means she is given the freedom to make decisions for herself. She is never restricted as per the worldly orders and despite the fact that she does not enjoy the protection of her parents, she is protected and loved by her foster parents who let her make mistakes and conduct different experiments in general. Harry on the other hand, stays with his maternal aunt after the death of his parents. While it is expected that Harry will have a good childhood in the care of his blood relation, the novel shows that the little boy has a traumatizing childhood in totality. The aunt who is given the responsibility to take care of Potter despises him. Dursley had hated her sister and was also jealous of her to a great extent because Lily, her sister, had magical abilities which she did not possess. This hatred was not confined to Lily alone but was stretched to Harry as well. This is mainly why she treated Harry very badly and often neglected him while Harry was growing up. He was abused emotionally to a great extent as he was always viewed as an outsider. This is mainly why Potter grows up struggling to belief in himself. He is not only unaware of his capabilities but also of the understanding that he could be a man of abilities. This is apparent through his reaction, on knowing that he is a wizard, in the line, “instead of feeling pleased and proud, felt quite sure there had been a horrible mistake.” (Rowling).

Differences in the Childhood of Harry Potter and Lyra

Lyra and Harry do share a number of similarities between themselves. The characters of Lyra and Harry share one prominent similarity, that is, both of them are orphans. Both of them were told that their respective parents had died in a crash. Lyra was told that her parents had died in an air crash and Harry was told that his parents had died due to a car crash. Lyra and Harry both of them discover the truth about their parents when they grow up. The difference that still exists between the two is based on the fact that Harry still wanted to get back to his parents but Lyra had no such feelings. Harry has a traumatizing childhood where his curiosity is never addressed and his imagination is only met with outrage like when he confesses about dreaming a flying motorbike, his uncle almost yells at him saying, “MOTORBIKES DON’T FLY”, but this does not put an end to Harry’s curiosity (Rowling). Lyra is also a curious child like Harry but her curiosity is addressed with patience. In addition, she is allowed to experiment and discover things rather than being put off as seen in the case of Harry. This is mainly why she has the courage of getting into a range of fights. Harry is hit for anything and everything by his family but in case of Lyra she is the one who gets into numerous fights, “Lyra and her peers were engaged in deadly warfare.” (Pullman). It is however the curiosity in both the children that lead them to taking their adventurous journey as the story unfolds.

The childhood of Lyra is mainly comprising of innocence and while she is adventurous, her innocence prevails throughout. Harry is forced to attain maturity at an early age and this is because of the circumstances that he is placed in. Harry is forced to live with his aunt and uncle who hate him and Harry is aware of the same. Both of his foster parents are kind of unruly and force Harry to do things that he does not wish to do. Harry is thus subjected to constant bullying and this is why he understands situation. An example of his maturity can be seen when the family makes a visit to the zoo, “He was careful to walk a little way apart from the Dursleys so that Dudley and Piers, who were starting to get bored with the animals by lunch-time, wouldn’t fall back on their favourite hobby of hitting him” (Rowling).  Lyra on the other hand, enjoys a childhood surrounded by scholarly people who give her the liberty to make decisions for herself in general. The author also clearly declares the fact that Lyra is mischievous but at the same time she is very innocent. The author makes repeated use of the word ‘innocent’ while talking about her, “She gazed back with all the innocence she had.” (Pullman).

It can be concluded that Lyra has a better childhood than Harry and the reason for the same is that Lyra is allowed a normal childhood where she is allowed to make mistakes, experiment, be curious and stay innocent. Harry on the other hand, is forced to be matured as he is constantly cornered by his aunt who is negligent towards him in general. He is also met with hatred and anger rather than love and care throughout. 

Pullman, Philip. "The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials Book I." (1996).

Rowling, Joanne K. Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone. Vol. 1. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.

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